I crave the sun. When the sun is out I find a place to be in it and absorb it. It is a compulsion. My body and brain need it. I have to have it.
I look back at my hypomanic episodes and almost all of them are in late spring and summer. My upswing in moods is related to sunshine and warm temperatures. My fondest memories are of experiences I have had in good weather.
Some of my worst memories of manic episodes happened during the warm months too. I was exuberant and taking risks. I felt invincible. I had unrealistic expectations and visions of grandiosity. I was outgoing to the point of being scary.
Seemingly sitting in the sun and doing nothing I was recovering from depression and the blahs. I was absorbing every ray. By sitting in the sun in the morning I was gaining the energy to go through the day and night. I could feel the increase in the elevation in my mood as I sat there. After an hour or so I would have enough. I would go on to have a great day.
For many years we vacationed in Mexico for a week in February. I had to get away from the grey skies and be in sunshine. Here too, the elevation in mood occurred. I would lie in the sun by the pool or on the sand for hours. The sense inside my chest and brain of peace and well-being was wonderful.
I would come home from vacation energized and looking forward to spring. This didn’t happen with other vacations. Vacations to places where there wasn’t sun and warm temperatures were ok. They helped reduce stress and my anxiety levels would decrease. But each one of these vacations was too short. The after effect would last only days versus weeks or a few months from the sunny ones.
As a teenager I would crave the sun and sit in it in the backyard. My brother would get mad at me for doing nothing. I knew I was not just doing nothing. I didn’t know why I did it or how to explain it. The understanding of the impact of the sun on my life didn’t come until much later in life.
Fall and winter were different. It seemed my mood would decline starting in October. My worst depressions would come in December and January. My hospitalization for depression came December 30, 1996. When I got home from the hospital I was no better than when I went in. The sadness, anxiety and dread overwhelmed me. I was unable to function for months, June actually. When I finally was able to sit in the sun things began to slowly improve.
So here I am again. It is 2017 and soon it will be spring. But things are different. The winter wasn’t as bad as previous ones. I experienced some sadness and increased anxiety but nothing like the past years. I feel better. I crave the sun less. It still feels good on my face but being in it is not a compulsion.
What is the difference? My doctor recommended Vitamin D. I said ok but I was skeptical. I knew from past experience that vitamins could not replace my medications for bipolar disorder. I didn’t expect much if any change.
Boy was I wrong. I first noticed that when the sun was out I did not “have” to be in it. I noticed stabilization in my mood. I didn’t crave the sun.
I write this today because spring and summer are coming. Those of you who do crave the sun will be in it to absorb it and have it fill your chest.
What helps me may not help you. I tell you my story because it worked so well for me and I wish I would have about it years and years ago. I don’t discuss my medications because we are all so different and I am not a doctor. But when a vitamin has made so much difference in my life, I have to share the news.
I look forward to reading about your experiences.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community